Bahia Honda State Park (floridastateparks.org) in Big Pine Key offers more coral reef snorkeling within a few hundred feet of shore. The oldest wreck, San Pedro, a Dutch-built ship that went down near Indian Key, dates back to colonial times in the early 1700s.
Freshwater fishing in Lake Okeechobee gives you 467,000 acres of shallow water in which to catch trophy-sized large mouth bass. Fishermen can access the lake from half a dozen spots, including Alvin Ward Park (SAJ.usage.army.mil) via boat ramp or a fishing deck.
Catch big-game fish, including tuna, sailfish and marlin, in the deeper waters near the Keys, and grouper and snapper on the reef closer to shore. Between 825 miles of beaches and 33 first-magnitude springs, there are endless places to explore the waters of the Sunshine State.
One top spot to snorkel is close to the hustle and bustle of Miami, and that’s Biscayne National Park, where offshore excursions bring visitors to coral reefs, shipwrecks, and ecologically vital mangrove habitat. Guided to snorkel trips are available through Biscayne National Park Institute and a host of other operators listed here.
At Bill Beings Cape Florida State Park on Key Biscayne, you can bring your own gear (or purchase some in Miami) and snorkel directly from the white-sand beach. In addition to having more than a mile of beach, Bill Beings has a historic lighthouse with guided tours, restaurants, and trails and sea walls that are excellent for wildlife viewing.
As you approach this privately-owned natural gem, it’s easy to walk right past it without noticing if you aren’t paying attention. A small entryway leads down a steep set of stairs below to the dry cave and spring.
The water appears blue and glowing, thanks to lighting inside the cave, and tree roots and green tendrils tumble down from the ground can be seen through a natural skylight at the top. Henderson Beach State Park has white sand dunes standing 30 feet high and a mile of unspoiled and uncrowded shoreline, where swimmers and snorkelers can explore the clear Gulf water.
Boasting almost two miles of shoreline, this state park situated on the Atlantic coast has rocky outcroppings that host a vat array of sea life, including squid, tarpon, lobsters, and sea anemones. Phil Foster Park in Southeast Florida is another great, no-boat-required saltwater snorkeling destination.
It’s home to a snorkeling trail with boulders and artificial reef that host a variety of tropical fish, starfish, octopus, and more. A variety of turtles and large schools of striped bass are some natural inhabitants snorkelers can see here.
No matter you wish to visit coral reefs in the Keys, freshwater springs or state park snorkel trails, having fun and spotting interesting marine life is guaranteed. Florida ’s 1000 miles coastline offers numerous places to go for those who love underwater activities.
If you are looking for the best underwater experience, the Keys offers definitely the best snorkeling in Florida with colorful coral reefs, lots of tropical fish species, turtles, rays and often nurse sharks around. For more information, read our John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park snorkeling review with detailed description and underwater photos.
Thanks to the shallow reefs and calm waters, the Bahia Hand State Park offers family-friendly snorkeling in Florida where different coral species like stag horn, brain and fire corals as well as many species of fish like parrot fish, angelfish and barracudas can be observed. Should you look for boat snorkeling in Florida Keys with plenty of fish and turtles to see, the Alligator Reef is a great place to go.
Advanced snorkelers can choose to stop at the nearby deeper reef too which is a wall-like area with angelfish, parrot fish, barracudas and even nurse sharks around. The Sombrero Reef is not only very rich in life but also features interesting underwater scenery with small caves and canyons.
Fort Zachary Taylor has a rocky shore with clear waters that attracts many reef fish and sea creatures. This snorkeling in Florida experience offers you a truly unique adventure while swimming in crystal clear water around the historic Jefferson Fort.
It is accessible only by boat but surely it is worth the efforts if you would like to enjoy a great day in nature! The snorkel trail with an artificial reef system attracts a wide variety of sea creatures including seahorses besides various fish species.
The calm waters give home to more than 500 marine species including sea turtles. Peanut Island This tropical park lies near Lake Worth Inlet in Palm Beach County.
There is an extensive system of freshwater springs in Florida that treat visitors with superb conditions for water activities. These crystal clear springs can be found in Central and North Florida, therefore they are perfect for those who seek snorkeling near Orlando.
Kings Bay, where the water temperature is around 72 F (22 C) all year round gives home to a big population of West Indian Manatees that are around all year-round. Moreover, the Crystal River is an important manatee winter refuge too where hundreds of them gather in the warm water.
Spotting manatees is possible all around the Florida coastline but to protect these endangered creatures swimming with them is restricted at most places. On the Santa Fee River, 7 springs attract snorkelers and divers with their crystal clear blue water.
A picturesque circular pool on St. Johns River near Orange City surrounded by big oak and palm trees where you can swim, snorkel, dive or canoeing. The Gulf Coast is known for its relaxed lifestyle and lush tropical landscape but unfortunately doesn’t offer superb conditions for underwater activities.
Except to observe different reef fish, some small sea creatures like crabs and sponges. Visiting the Regina wreck provides enjoyable snorkeling in Florida during the calm weather season when the ocean is clear enough.
A shallow coral reef runs parallel to the shore around parking 1 and 2 that is nice to explore. The summer months are hot, the maximum temperatures can reach 91 F (33 C) and the ocean warms up to 82 F (28 C) making water activities very comfortable.
Make sure always follow weather forecast since the period between June and November is the Atlantic hurricane season when tropical storms might form. Occasional cold fronts bring lower temperatures along with strong wind and rainfall, but these last only for a few days.
The ocean temperature is 69-75 F (21-24 C) in winter (warmer in the south), therefore wearing a 3 mm snorkeling suit is recommended. From the Emerald Coast to the turquoise waters of the Palm Beaches and beyond, Florida ’s more than 1,000 miles of coastline have some best snorkeling around.
Family-friendly and scenic, Bathtub Reef Beach is located at the northern tip of Hutchison Island in Martin County. For lovers of Florida history and shipwrecks, Cannon Beach at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is a must-see.
It’s one of the most fun ways to view artifacts of centuries-old shipwrecks, which are submerged in Cannon Beach’s calm and shallow waters. Wildlife abounds under the water’s surface at Phil Foster Park in Palm Beach County, which has a snorkeling trail 200 feet off Phil Foster Beach that attracts underwater photographers, divers, and snorkelers alike.
Lifeguards, free parking, food concessions, and other amenities make Venice an ideal spot to spend a day at the beach. Snorkel northwest Florida ’s St. Andrews State Park to see why the Panhandle is called the Emerald Coast.
On a calm day, you could mistake the waters off this beach for the Caribbean, with its clarity and countless species of marine animals, including rays, tropical fish, and seahorses. For more experienced snorkelers and divers, the Regina Sugar Barge wreck on Anna Maria Island has a lot to explore.
It’s well worth the effort to see the clear, blue-green waters of this popular snorkeling and paddling spot and the tropical fish and other animals that inhabit them. Nurse sharks, spiny lobsters, and an array of tropical fish are just some specials snorkelers can spot at Dr.
The Mayo Costa State Park’s 2,426 acres take up most of the island. There’s also coastline on the back side boarding Pine Island Sound.
Here’s beautiful protected water for kayaking, and a great anchorage for sailboats. Nearly six miles of trails run through the park begging to be explored.
Sail boats anchored behind Mayo State soft white sand is great for the usual beach activities. You’ll have better luck on a low tide and a better chance of discovering a rare find if you’re away from the more heavily frequented stretches.
There are showers, restrooms and shaded pavilions in which to take a break from the sun and have a picnic. They’re one room with a table and three bunk beds, so they can sleep six.
A Camp Site on Mayo Costa Most days the water is not clear. Wait for days when it hasn’t rained hard or been breezy for about a week.
Still, it can be beautiful, with a bright sand bottom, shells, and fish. I’ve seen trout, pompano, and sleepyhead as well as schools of white bait.
There are no generators allowed at the camp sites or cabins. These options give you the ability to land on the beach away from everyone else.
Most ferries land at a dock on the back side of Mayo Costa. There’s a free tram that will take you and your gear across to the cabins, camp sites and Gulf side beach.
The Tropic Star going to Mayo Costa Tropic Star Leaves from Jug Creek Marina in Bohemia on Pine Island. Camper transport is $42 for an adult, $32 for a child, including 50 lbs per person.
The tram that takes passengers across Mayo Costa King Fisher Fleet Leaves from Fishermen’s Village in Junta Golda. There is an additional $10 charge if arriving and leaving on different days.